In One Moon, Two Cats by Laura Godwin, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, we follow the nocturnal adventures of two felines leading parallel lives. One is a silky-haired white city cat, the other a striped yellow country cat. When their young owners go to bed, the cats get ready for a night out. To start, “one cat watches vans and trucks,” the other “slinks by pigs and ducks.” Under the same moon but in contrasting settings (rooftops vs. wooden fences; side streets vs. grassy fields), the cats prowl and hunt for mice. In smaller illustrations and double-page spreads that convey suspense and excitement, we see them “race,” “creep,” and “chase” after their prey. Then just as the cats are about to catch the mice, a thunderstorm has the felines fleeing for cover—back “home again.” Tanaka’s beautiful moonlit illustrations are mesmerizing and Godwin’s spare, action-packed text makes for an engaging read-aloud.
Jeff Crosby’s Wiener Wolf is also an animal adventure tale—but completely different in style and protagonist. Here, the four-legged hero is Wiener Dog, a sweater-wearing, droopy-eared dachshund, who lives a “tame” life with Granny. In fact, life had become so predictable and boring that one day, Wiener Dog decides to run away and join a pack of wolves. The illustrations depicting Wiener Dog running with realistic-looking wolves are hilarious. He has “a new backyard” (the forest), “a new water dish” (the river), and “new squeaky toys” (wolf cubs). Wiener Dog is having the time of his life…until he discovers that a game of hide-and-seek with a deer is actually deadly serious. (Not to worry: The wolves catch their prey but the violent outcome occurs out of the picture.) That’s when Wiener Dog realizes that he belongs at home “with Granny!” But Granny also realizes that Wiener Dog needs some adventure in his life and she introduces him to a different pack of friends (the kind that runs in parks).
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What is your favorite cat or dog tale for kids?